Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert describes Palestinian Authority President and Fatah chairman Mahmoud Abbas as a “moderate,” saying on Dec. 25, “There are among the Palestinians responsible and moderate sources who openly say they want to make peace with Israel.”
Last week, the Al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades took credit for firing missiles into the Israeli port city of Ashkelon, narrowly missing the key Ashkelon power station. The Al Aksa Brigades is part of Fatah, the party of Abbas. Following these most recent missile attacks against Israel by a branch of Fatah, Olmert’s press secretary, Miri Eisin, was asked whether Israel would demand that Abbas disband the Al-Aksa Brigades.
Eisin said the Al-Aksa Brigades members firing the projectiles from Gaza into Israel are not affiliated with Fatah and don’t take orders from Abbas. She said the terrorists are simply paid directed by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist organization.
However, Abu Ahmed, the Al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades leader in the northern Gaza Strip, informed Aaron Klein of WorldNetDaily that their terrorists who launch missiles against Israeli targets are loyal to Abbas and that they coordinate “resistance operations” with the Fatah party.
“The Al-Aksa Brigades is the military wing of the Fatah and the President Abu Mazen (Abbas) is the chairman of the movement. We are committed to our leadership, to Abu Mazen. All our activity is in accordance with the political line of Fatah, which consists of fighting the occupation until the creation of a Palestinian state. The rocket shooting is part of this vision,” Abu Ahmed said.
Asked why Abbas distances himself from Al-Aksa’s rocket firing, Abu Ahmed told Klein, “Listen, we are aware of our president’s (Abbas’) declarations, but we are also aware of the international political system that brings the president to adopt this position.”
Abu Ahmed also told Klein that Abbas never asked his group to halt the rocket fire.
“We know what is Fatah’s general political line, and we act according to this line, and I can say that we were never asked to stop shooting rockets. Therefore, the rocket shooting is not in any way harming our loyalty and our commitment to (Abbas) and his leadership.”
Meanwhile, other Al-Aksa Brigades sources said they coordinate their attacks with Mahmoud Dahlan, Abbas’s strongman in Gaza.
“We are still totally committed to Fatah and (Abbas), regardless of help from other groups. The help is sanctioned by Fatah,” a Brigades source said.
Both Israel and the U.S. State Department consider the Al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades to be an FTO, a “foreign terror organization.”
The Al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades, together with Islamic Jihad, has taken responsibility for every suicide bombing in Israel over the past two years, including an attack in Tel Aviv in April that killed American teenager Daniel Wultz and nine Israelis. The Brigades also has carried out scores of deadly shooting and rocket attacks against Israeli civilians in recent months.
Last June, Abbas appointed senior al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades leader Mahmoud Damra as commander of Fatah’s Force 17. Damra, who was arrested by Israel in November, was on Israel’s most-wanted list of terrorists.
©The Bulletin 2007